An Idiographic and Nomothetic Approach to the Study of Mexican-Origin Adolescent Mothers’ Socio-cultural Stressors and Adjustment

Katharine H. Zeiders, Adriana J. Umaña-Taylor, Kimberly Updegraff, Laudan B. Jahromi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The current study examined the longitudinal relations of socio-cultural stressors (i.e., acculturative stressors, enculturative stressors, ethnic discrimination) and Mexican-origin adolescent mothers’ depressive symptoms and risk-taking behaviors. Utilizing an idiographic and nomothetic approach, we conducted lagged analyses to examine how individuals’ fluctuations in stressors predicted subsequent adjustment. Further, we investigated potential threshold effects by examining if the impact of fluctuations in stressors differed at varying levels of stressors. Mexican-origin adolescent females (N = 184) participated in yearly in-home assessments across 5 years and reported on their experiences of acculturative and enculturative stressors, ethnic discrimination, depressive symptoms, and risk-taking behaviors. Findings revealed that within-person fluctuations in acculturative stressors and, to a lesser extent, perceived discrimination related to youths’ depressive symptoms. For risk-taking behaviors, however, only within-person fluctuations in enculturative stressors emerged as significant. Further, a threshold effect emerged in the link between enculturative stressors and risk-taking behaviors, suggesting that fluctuations in enculturative stressors predicted changes in risk-taking behaviors at high levels of enculturative stressors but not low levels. Our findings highlight the differential relations between socio-cultural stressors and adolescent females’ adjustment and suggest that prevention programs aimed at reducing depressive symptoms should attend to any degree of change in socio-cultural stressors, whereas programs focused on risk-taking behaviors should be especially attuned to levels of enculturative stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)386-396
Number of pages11
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2015


  • Acculturative stressors
  • Adolescent mothers
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Discrimination
  • Enculturative stressors
  • Mexican-origin youth
  • Risk-taking behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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